Once you’ve decided to paint the interior of your house—or even just a room—the next decision is much harder: picking a color scheme. Maybe you really like canary yellow, but you’re worried about making that kind of commitment. Or maybe you mentioned that you’ve decided to paint, and everyone keeps telling you that your options are white, off-white, greige or gray, but you hate the idea of living in such a bland space.
The point is, picking a color scheme isn’t always easy. Fortunately, there are a few strategies for making the task less daunting. Shelby Deering breaks them down in an article for Hunker. Here’s what to know.
Types of color schemes
As a quick refresher on color theory, here are the six types of color schemes, courtesy of Deering:
- Monochromatic: You may already be familiar with this term since it’s an approach that’s been popular in recent years; a monochromatic color scheme is when a room displays variations of the same color.
- Complementary: This color scheme features hues that are across from one another on the color wheel, like purple and orange and red and green.
- Analogous: These colors are right next to each other on the color wheel, such as yellow and orange.
- Triadic: This color scheme consists of three hues that are equally distant from each other on the color wheel, forming the shape of a triangle — one example is yellow, red, and blue.
- Split-complementary: A split-complementary scheme mixes together a single color with its complementary color, and then the two colors on either side of it — yellow and blue-violet would go with red-violet, for example.
- Tetradic: This double-complementary color scheme consists of two complementary pairs, resulting in a rectangle shape on the color wheel — that means that green and blue go with orange and red.
How to pick a color scheme
With so many options, how do you narrow down your choices for a color scheme? Here are a few things to consider:
Pick a place to start
There are two ways to do this: picking a wall color first, and then selecting furniture and decor based on the color, or vice versa. “You can pull in colors from a pattern as you set your scheme,” Deering writes. “For example, an area rug or a piece of artwork can inspire a palette for the entire space.”
Stop at three colors
Limit your color scheme to three colors, so it doesn’t get too overwhelming.
Choose a color scheme based on your style of decor
If you know that you’re going to go with a particular style of decor—Art Deco, rustic, mid-century modern, etc.—pick colors that work with the style. “For example, if you love farmhouse, perhaps a more neutral palette would be the best complement,” Deering writes. “Or, if you’re a Bohemian enthusiast opt for warm, toned-down hues.”